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Done Deal: Recent fundings secured, contracts inked and deals done, for the tl;dr crowd

IT companies The Instillery and Vo2 Group have merged.

The new entity will work under The Instillery brand, with offices in Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay, and creates a network with combined revenues exceeding $20 million.

Mike Jenkins, CEO and founder of The Instillery, says: “This isn’t about being bigger, this is about being more to our customers, and is a direct result of the demand in market.”  

Adds Jason Trower, Vo2 founder, board member and shareholder: “We have some fantastic businesses in the regions that are leading the world in biotech, agritech, information systems, genetics and many other fields – being able to offer these companies information technology solutions that are world class and are delivered by a local company will be a win win for us all.”

The new-look business will count Auckland Council, Vector, Sanford, LIC, Powerco, Fonterra and TSB Bank amongst their enterprise clientele, and a wide variety of mid-market customers that include Craggy Range, CooperAitken, Cancer Society, World, Madam Woo and Eat My Lunch.

Zeffer Cider Co. has begun another capital raise, seeking $1.8 million in funding through Snowball Effect.

New Zealand’s largest independent, dedicated cider producer, Zeffer Cider Co. raised $1.2 million in a funding round last year, and is now seeking additional investment to capitalise on plans for 2018 and beyond.

Since the raise in March 2017, the company launched into the Chinese market, achieving $365,000 in sales within its first full year, and has also established a new cidery in Hawke’s Bay with capacity to produce more than two million litres of cider a year.

Overall, the company has grown sales by 70 percent in the last year – from $1.6 million to $2.8 million – and exceeding their FY18 forecast by more than $140,000.

The company is now seeking an additional $1.8 million in funding, based on a pre-investment valuation of $8.26 million. Funds will be dedicated to helping the company further grow its footprint in the Chinese market, as well as deliver on strategic opportunities in order to sustainably grow to become a $10 million+ revenue company by 2021.

Josh Townsend, Chief Executive at Zeffer, says that with the international cider market currently expanding at a rapid rate – forecasted to grow by up to US$5.5 billion in the next five years – one of the major opportunities for the company lies in overseas markets. “We already export to nine countries around the world. China is by far our largest market, and that’s one of the export markets we’re focusing our efforts for the next three years. This next funding round will be critical to helping us double down on our Chinese export strategy, partnering closely with local distributors, and recruiting additional human resources to drive these efforts – including a China Sales Manager to oversee our China sales team.

“At a local level, cider is already a $100 million-plus category and we want to help further grow the category while capturing more market share, and we’ll be increasing human and marketing resources to achieve this. We are also opening a new taproom at the official home of Zeffer in Hawke’s Bay in October this year.”

The capital raise went live on Snowball Effect on June 1.

Online investment platform Sharesies is celebrating its first year in business by diversifying its investment offerings.

To date, 206,529 trades and a total of 114,331 deposits have been made via Sharesies, with the lowest deposit made being $0.01 and the highest being $100,000. And while the platform has investors ranging from the minimum age of 18 years right up to 88 years of age, the majority of users – 80 percent – are aged under 40 years old.

Sharesies CEO Brooke Roberts says, “Our first year has absolutely exceeded our expectations. The appetite we’ve seen from Kiwis for investing through Sharesies has been incredible and shows that there is a growing shift in attitude towards wanting to invest in the share market and take control of their money.

“We’ve grown Sharesies from an idea to an investment platform that is now used by nearly 15,500 investors, with more than $15.5m under management.”

The new offering will allow a free first month upon an investor signing up to the platform. Following the first month, a subscription fee will be based on users’ portfolio value – with $50 or less being free.

Says co-founder Sonya Williams: “We have some exciting plans to extend the platform to a wider customer base by launching Sharesies accounts for children. We are also planning to conduct targeted industry research, increase the number and range of funds available, explore robo-advice and ‘auto-invest’ options, and continue educating existing customers.

“Our goal has always been to provide New Zealanders with a practical, low-cost way to get involved and have their own investment portfolio, and we are always pushing ourselves to be as accessible as we can be – we want someone with $50 to have the same investment opportunities as someone with $50,000.”

New Zealand-founded safety app specialist ThunderMaps has raised $1.25 million in a seed funding round to drive Australian expansion.

In an oversubscribed seed funding round, ThunderMaps also brought on two sales executives in New Zealand and Australia and bolstered its board of directors with the additions of Aden Forrest and Nick Gerritsen.

Dave Moskovitz, a Wellington angel investor whose trust took a stake in the company, says: “It’s not often that you get to invest in a company that literally keeps people safe.  Clint and his crack team have proven the product in NZ and several test overseas markets, and are now ready to scale globally. This is an exciting opportunity.” 

ThunderMaps has opened an office in Sydney, Australia after winning contracts with Veolia and AngloGold Ashanti.

Company founder Clint Van Marrewijk says this funding is a vote of confidence in the bootstrapped company. “It’s a sign that our data-led approach to safety has legs. The great thing about the raise is that it has happened simultaneously with acquiring significant new customers.

“It’s time to put the pedal down hard now. We’ve taken time to build our product, and we’re now focused on the top end of the market that demands an elite technology solution. We’re having great success with clients such as Vodafone Global, Veolia and AngloGold Ashanti coming on board recently.”

ThunderMaps, which specialises in hazard data sharing, has built a software platform that warns each worker before they encounter a dangerous environment. It enables businesses and governments to crowdsource hazard locations, and then lets employees know when they’re in danger in real time. The platform translates into seven languages and integrates with over 500 services including Google sheets, Zendesk, Salesforce, Slack, and open data sources such as weather, fire, police callouts, earthquakes.

ThunderMaps is the largest specialist safety app maker in the world, with client accounts in 11 countries and over 20 million active dangerous locations mapped.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, in partnership with SAP and technologies provider Soltius, has won a prestigious global award for its new omni-channel farm management system, MyBallance.

MyBallance connects multiple data sources to provide real-time information and analytics to Ballance customers across all devices; helping people on farms make better decisions.

The digital solution stood out amongst 170 entries to win the Best Run Award at the 2018 SAP Innovation Awards.

Soltius New Zealand CEO Nick Mulcahy says they are proud to have worked with Ballance’s team. “Leveraging SAP’s progressive technologies, like SAP Hybris Commerce and Marketing, we were able to connect siloed data systems to create a seamless digital experience for farmers across all Ballance offerings; from nutrient analysis and planning through to purchasing and placement.

“Combining and consolidating information and processes into a single customer experience platform also offers better information about fertiliser placement and volume, helping farmers to operate sustainably and protect the environment while maximising production profitability.”

Both Soltius and Ballance will travel to SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP’s flagship annual conference in Orlando, Florida next week, where they will attend the Innovation Awards ceremony to receive the Best Run Award in person.

Soltius is used by more than 80 organisations across Australasia to provide SAP and AWS solutions, support and consulting. It was formed in 1996 as a specialist SAP implementation partner, and has offices in Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, and Wellington.

Spark and Revera are putting their collective weight behind Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab GovTech programme.

The two companies will provide technology and consulting services to government agencies and local councils in an effort to establish Wellington as an innovative hub for government technology.

Brett Holland, Lightning Lab’s head of acceleration, says New Zealand is in a strong position to become a global hub for government technology innovation – a global sector worth $450 billion – pointing to New Zealand’s public-sector ranking as the least corrupt in the world, and the high level of trust in government.

“It’s a huge opportunity for New Zealand, and Wellington could be the beating heart. When you consider existing levels of trust and transparency in New Zealand Government, and recent successful public-private partnerships, there’s no reason why New Zealand can’t be the Silicon Valley of government technology innovation.

“Sponsors like Spark and Revera ensure we lower the cost of innovation and encourage experimentation that keeps the focus on solving real-world problems.”

Spark Digital CEO Jolie Hodson says digital connectivity is critical to New Zealand’s economical, societal and environmental development. “The GovTech programme enables both Spark and Revera’s digital ecosystem to be leveraged and in turn foster innovation within government, which will ultimately deliver leading-edge local and central government services for New Zealand businesses and everyday kiwis.”

Over four months, Lightning Lab GovTech will work with participating government agencies to tackle their challenges and provide start-up methodologies, technologies, and technical experts to help test and validate digital approaches that drive innovation.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) is backing the initiative and will submit a challenge of their own.

WREDA chief executive Lance Walker sys programmes like Lightning Lab GovTech would deliver significant economic benefits to the Wellington region. “Establishing Wellington as a global leadership hub for the large and growing GovTech sector will increase our ability to attract and retain high-calibre talent and enhance our international reputation as a leading capital city. We are very excited to support the Lightning Lab GovTech programme.”

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